Time­less Clas­sic

Fifty Patek Philippe watches were ex­hib­ited at its Geneva salon in April to show­case the myr­iad artis­tic watch­mak­ing crafts it uses. Ter­ence Lim delved into the watch­maker’s cre­ative world at the Rare Hand­crafts ex­hi­bi­tion

Indonesia Tatler - - Style - T is a well-known fact that

San­tos de Cartier watches re­turn with in­no­va­tion to their beloved clas­sic fea­tures

IPatek Philippe watches are wor­thy in­vest­ment pieces. Not only do the spe­cial or ex­clu­sive watches con­sis­tently fetch handsome prices at auc­tions, the reg­u­lar ones are just as im­pres­sive. Made with ut­most re­spect to the sto­ried craft of watch­mak­ing, each ticker boasts beau­ti­ful lines and sup­ple curves com­ple­mented by a state-of-the-art move­ment. But Patek Philippe is more than just a watch­maker; it is a bona fide artist too.

Year af­ter year, the Genevan man­u­fac­ture rolls out su­perla­tive col­lec­tions of metier d’art watches in­spired by dis­ci­plines such as as­tron­omy, ge­og­ra­phy, mu­sic and na­ture. This year is no ex­cep­tion as Patek Philippe un­veiled 50 dome clocks, pocket watches and wrist­watches at its Rare Hand­crafts ex­hi­bi­tion in Geneva in April. Sin­ga­pore Tatler was given ex­clu­sive ac­cess to the event and was privy to the beau­ti­ful watches that fea­ture es­o­teric artis­tic tech­niques in­clud­ing man­ual en­grav­ing, var­i­ous grand feu enam­elling tech­niques, gem‑set­ting and hand guil­loche.

So, it is only nat­u­ral for out­siders—and pos­si­bly as­tute busi­ness peo­ple—to think that artis­tic watches make up a large por­tion of earn­ings for the brand. It doesn’t, how­ever, con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief. For one, the man­u­fac­ture hasn’t pro­duced enough vol­ume

to place a healthy profit mar­gin on each piece, which takes a lot of man-hours and effort to com­plete.

“Peo­ple in the know are aware that you can’t cre­ate th­ese watches for busi­ness,” said Patek Philippe pres­i­dent Thierry Stern at the open­ing of the Rare Hand­crafts ex­hi­bi­tion. “They’re re­ally made for pas­sion.” He pointed out that an­nu­ally, the brand only pro­duces around 140 of such metier d’art pieces, with each re­ceiv­ing some 60 re­quests world­wide. The de­mand is clearly much greater than the sup­ply. But it is more than just lin­ing the cof­fers of the fam­ily-owned busi­ness. “With th­ese rare hand­crafts watches, we show that Patek Philippe is at the peak of qual­ity.”


When Thierry’s fa­ther, Philippe, who is the brand’s for­mer pres­i­dent, started in­vest­ing time and money into cre­at­ing metier d’art watches, prof­itabil­ity was the fur­thest thing on his mind. Per­sonal in­ter­est aside, he had a sin­gu­lar aim: to safe­guard and pre­serve rare and dis­ap­pear­ing artis­tic skills linked to watch­mak­ing.

“The level of in­ter­est in such artis­tic watches was not there at that time and peo­ple didn’t re­ally buy such pieces,” said Thierry. “But my dad in­sisted on get­ting crafts­men to con­tinue mak­ing such watches.”

A cou­ple of decades on, Philippe’s per­sis­tence has reaped ben­e­fits on many lev­els. First, there is a resur­gence of in­ter­est in such artis­tic crafts—horophiles to­day are in­creas­ingly in­ter­ested in rare hand­crafted watches, which has opened up more doors for th­ese artists now that more brands are jump­ing onto the metier d’art band­wagon. Also, the pro­lif­er­a­tion of th­ese crafts has in­jected a new lease of life into th­ese van­ish­ing arts, and has en­cour­aged younger gen­er­a­tions to pick up th­ese skills from the grand masters.

“It’s im­por­tant to trans­mit th­ese skills and know-how to the next gen­er­a­tion,” said Thierry, adding that the man­u­fac­ture boasts crafts­men who are pro­fi­cient in more than 60 types of artis­tic skills. “It’s in­deed very rare to have so much tal­ent. But im­por­tantly, we want to hire peo­ple who can—and are will­ing to—share knowl­edge and im­part skills to the young.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Indonesia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.